Mizuno Wave Universe 3 PDF Print E-mail
Racing Flats - Neutral Racing Flats

I've been running in the Mizuno Wave Universe 3s for a little over a month and am enjoying them quite a bit.  These are super light racing flats, or I guess now these would be called "ultra minimalist" shoes.  My size 11s weigh a mere 8.5 ounces.  My beloved Brooks T6s weigh 14.1 ounces, making these almost 6 ounces lighter.

Aside from how light these shoes are, the first thing you will notice is how flexible they are.  (OK, the first thing my daughter first noticed was how pink and glittery-gold they were.)  Both laterally and at toe-off, these shoes provide lots of flex.  If you're looking for any support, you should look elsewhere, or better yet, to a different category of shoes altogether.

The sole is quite thin and there is little rise from toe to heel.  This means that the heel is not going to encourage a heel strike and better enables a more natural mid-foot or forefoot landing. It also means that this shoe is super responsive and the transition to toe-off is extremely smooth.

You also shouldn't expect much protection from road debris.  You will feel any small pebbles or sticks that you step on, but that is a characteristic of any shoe this light and not a reflection of poor design.

I usually run in a size 11 running shoe.  With some brands, 11 is a little small, on others, a little big.  These run just a hair bigger than most size 11 running shoes I have.  The heel is fairly snug, but there seems to be just little too much room up front, which is unusual for me, since I have fairly wide feet.

Unfortunately, Mizuno didn't consider triathletes when designing these shoes, in that most runners won't be able to go sockless with these shoes.  There are two reasons for this.  The first being that the interior of the material used is a bit abrasive.  More significant are the two seams that run down either side of the mid-foot.  These are substantial seams, which are no problem with socks, but will rub you raw after a few miles without socks.

I also worry about the longevity of these shoes.  The bottom has a lot of exposed foam.  Sure, the key contact points have a more durable outsole, but unless you have perfect form the exposed midsole is going to wear down quickly.  I get 400+ miles out of my Brooks T6s, but I think I'll be lucky to get 300 out of the Mizuno Wave Universe 3s.  Of course I could be wrong about that and I'll report back when I get up to 3oo miles on them.

Mizuno Wave Universe 3 - Top ViewMizuno Wave Universe 3 - Bottom View

Avia Avi-Stoltz Trail Shoes PDF Print E-mail
Running Product News - Running Shoe News

We've all been told that first impressions can be deceiving.  Rarely, however, do I find that to be true with running shoes.  In the old days, it might take 30 to 50 miles to break in a pair of shoes, but that isn't true anymore.  Consequently, I'm pretty good at sizing up a pair of shoes after one run.

In my First Impressions of the Avi-Stoltz trail shoes I wrote that I found the shoes harsh on paved roads.  Yes, these are trail shoes, but many of us have to run on paved roads to get to the trails.  (Driving someplace to go for a run is just lame, except in extreme situations.)  After a dozen or more runs in these shoes, I no longer find them to be harsh.  Perhaps the shoes or I (more likely the latter) were having a bad day.  I find these shoes to be a delight, on the trail and on paved roads.

As for their weight, 12.2 oz for a size 11, they are actually fairly light for a sturdy pair of trail shoes.  Yes, my NB 790s weigh in at 9.4 oz (also size 11), but those shoes are minimalist shoes not appropriate for rugged trails and didn't give me the confidence that the Avi-Stoltz shoes give me.  The Avi-Stoltz shoes provide all the confidence one would need at a weight that isn't much above that of a light weight trainer.

Finally, as for their looks, these shoes have grown on me.  Whereas I at first considered them ugly, I now like their looks.  So much for first impressions!

Summing it all up...the Avia Avi-Stoltz trail shoes are great trail shoes.  They provide excellent traction in all kinds of trail conditions: they shed mud, cling to rock, grab loose dirt, and generally provide runners with an aggressive tread.  These shoes provide a reasonable amount of support without altering your stride on smooth surfaces by offering a wide foundation.  They provide an ample amount of protection from harsh trail conditions.  They are comfortable and flexible, and so far appear to be durable.


Brooks T6 Review PDF Print E-mail
Running Product News - Running Shoe News

I always get nervous when I hear that a favorite shoe is going to be upgraded, so you can imagine my apprehension when Brooks announced that their fabled T5 Racer was being replaced by the T6 Racer.

Fortunately, I had little to fear. The T6 Racer is, without doubt, the better shoe...mostly because Brooks made only minor changes and only to the upper. The sole, the heart of this shoe, is essentially unchanged.


Avia Avi-Stoltz First Impressions PDF Print E-mail
Running Product News - Running Shoe News

I managed to get out on a new pair of Avia Avi-Stoltz trail shoes.  My first impressions are generally good with some concerns that I'll pay close attention to in future runs. 

First, the good stuff...The tread on these shoes is pretty aggressive.  I was able to run in these shoes on a variety of surfaces: pavement, hard-packed trail, sharp rocks, slippery roots, and slimy mud.  (Yes, all that in one run.)  In all situations, the traction was good.  The shoes channeled and shed the mud, and traction was pretty good on all other surfaces.  I did feel the sharp rocks, but given these rocks, that is what I would expect.  Only boots would protect ones feet from these rocks. I also found the stability to be solid, which is important on a trail where the surface can be loose or hidden.  The shoes provided plenty of room (perhaps too much) for my wide, flat forefeet.  

At 12.2 oz. for a size 11 shoe, these are not light shoes, but then they aren't overly heavy either. 

Now for the concerns.  While running on the short stretch of pavement that takes me too the woods, I found myself wishing these shoes had more forefoot cushioning.  This from somebody who generally leans towards ultralight shoes.  Perhaps I just need to break them in a little more or give them more time.  Finally, these shoes are also downright ugly, but then that really shouldn't matter.

I'll update this review once I get some more miles on them.


RunningAhead.com Training Log PDF Print E-mail

Running Ahead has always had one of the best free training logs available, but recently they added some new features that make it even better.  First, a few month ago, they made it much more multi-sport friendly. 

You can now customize your summary page to include all kinds of summary stats and graphs.  For example, in the left column of my summary page I have weekly bike and run statistics.  The weekly statistics displays the most recent 6 weeks of data.  In the middle column I display monthly statistics, also for the past six months.  Finally, in the right column, I display 7 and 30 day rolling totals as well as year-to-date and all-time totals. 

You can also add graphs and calendars to your summary page.  

Of course, the RunningAhead log already had the most user friendly interface for adding runs, shoes, and courses to your log.  The google maps feature is particularly slick.  I know plenty of sites have mapping as part of their log, but Running Ahead's interface is easier and faster than most.

Their newest feature is an integration with the Garmin Forerunner.  I tried using this lately and it is pretty easy to set up...even on a Mac!  I do wish I could add the course name, equipment used (my shoes), weight and other data when reviewing the uploaded data rather than going back in and editing these records later, but that is a small price to pay for an otherwise slick tool.